Mumbai: The government named financial industry veteran Madhabi Puri Buch as the next chairperson of the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) on Monday, becoming the first woman to head the regulator. She’s also the first Sebi chief who’s not an ex-bureaucrat in 17 years.

She succeeds Ajay Tyagi, whose term ended on February 28 after five years in the role. Buch, 56, was appointed Sebi chief for three years. She takes charge of the regulator at a time when it has come under fire for its perceived role in the National Stock Exchange co-location case, which has led to investigative agencies questioning several former officials and arresting one person.

Buch was a whole-time member of Sebi until October. In that role, she was the first from the private sector to occupy a board position at the regulatory body.

During his five-year tenure as a whole-time member, Buch oversaw market infrastructure institutions such as stock exchanges and depositories. Also under her watch were investment management assets such as mutual funds, alternative investment funds and portfolio management schemes, besides market surveillance.

Crucial Point of Time for Sebi
Buch’s career spans securities market policy, private equity, investment banking and consumer banking.

“Madhabi has broken the glass ceiling in multiple ways by this appointment,” said S Raman, former whole-time member at Sebi and Buch’s former colleague. “Madhabi has a wide area of ​​expertise in finance and markets. She is hardworking and gets deeply involved in matters concerning her portfolio. I am sure she would acquit herself well in this crucially important role.”

The new chief takes over as global markets have been roiled by the Russia-Ukraine conflict. On her immediate agenda will be approval of the initial public offer document of Life Insurance Corp of India (LIC). The sale is set to be the country’s biggest primary market fundraise.

Sebi will also have to examine a regulatory framework for algorithmic (algo) trading by retail investors to prevent market manipulation. Further, it will have to look into allowing foreign portfolio investors in the commodity derivatives market.

Considerable Experience

Before joining Sebi, Buch – an alumna of Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad -worked with New Development Bank in Shanghai, Greater Pacific Capital in Singapore and ICICI Securities in Mumbai.

Tyagi, it is learned, was not keen on another extension as “he felt he has done enough” for the securities market, said a person with knowledge of the matter. Tyagi’s initial term at Sebi was for three years, which was later extended twice to a total of another two years.

Buch, the second non-IAS person to helm Sebi after GN Bajpai, will assume charge on March 1.

“She has the experience of being in Sebi at virtually the number two position and comes from huge experience in investment banking and securities market,” said Anil Singhvi, chairman, ICAN Investment Advisors.

She is married to Dhaval Buch, currently a senior advisor at private equity major Blackstone, according to his LinkedIn profile.


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